Activities for Introductory GeoscienceHere you will find a wide range of activities for teaching introductory geoscience courses. you can refine your search by selecting the topic or resource type, or by typing in search terms into the search box in the box below.
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Exploring Cation Exchange Capacity through the use of the Soil Survey part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
This assignment allows students to utilize real soil data/information presented online to learn how the some of the physical properties of the soil influence the chemistry of the soil and health of the ecosystem.
Soil Biogeochemical Cycles part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
This group activity charges students with teaching their colleagues about the biogeochemical cycle of one key soil element (e.g., either C, N, S, P, Ca, or Fe). Students are given a single class period to summarize ...
Dynamic Reservoir - In-class activity part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
This is an in-class activity analyzing our drinking water reservoir, but would apply to any reservoir for which there are basic crest/elevation data and maps available.
JiTT - The Future of Africa's Health with Technology part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Just in Time Teaching:Examples
1) What are the benefits and opportunities handheld technology can offer the health sector in Africa? Answer the question from the viewpoint of a health care provider and a patient. Does anyone else benefit? ...
JiTT - Ethics of Fossil Collecting part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Just in Time Teaching:Examples
1) What do you think it means for a fossil resource to be "abused"? 2) What's the issue with fossil hunting on federal land (such as National Parks)? Explain what your interpretation of the conflict ...
Pathogenic Microorganisms in Water part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Activities
This activity introduces students to sampling and testing for microorganisms in different water sources. It also tests iodine tablets to kill coliform bacteria which interest many students. The activity utilizes ...
Earthquake Demonstration part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lecture Demonstrations:Examples
This demonstration uses an "earthquake machine" constructed from bricks, sand paper, and a winch, to simulate the buildup of elastic strain energy prior to a seismic event and the release of that energy ...
Water Wars: A look at Gallatin Valley Water Controversies part of Cutting Edge:Public Policy:Activities
This virtual field trip explores the science and policy of a ground water dispute in Gallatin Valley Montana. The virtual field trip uses a role-playing activity to explore the geology, hydrology and policy related ...
Earthquake Magnitude - Linking Earthquake Magnitude and Intensity part of Cutting Edge:Geophysics:Workshop 07:Geophysics Activities
An activity that helps students link earthquake magnitude and intensity.
What is Magnitude? Earthquake Magnitude By Analogy part of Cutting Edge:Geophysics:Workshop 07:Geophysics Activities
Understanding magnitude scales by analogy to distance. Students use distance as a proxy for understanding how the logarithmic earthquake magnitude scale works. Very simple class or lab exercise for introductory ...
Acid Rain Socratic Questions part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Socratic Questioning:Examples
Cluster of questions on acid rain deposition. -
The Sleeping Mountain part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
In this role-playing scenario, students represent townspeople whose lives and livelihoods are endangered by an active volcano which may or may not erupt in the near future. -
See the activity page for details.
Whose Fault Is It Anyway? part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Games:Examples
This game has students simulate the propagation of P and S waves after an earthquake and to use the lag between these to determine where in the simulation the earthquake occurred. -
Question of the Day: ANWR Drilling Policy part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lectures:Question of the Day
ANWR Drilling Policy Debate (Acrobat (PDF) 118kB Jun16 04) Activity Sheet and Reading The author's calculations yield the following: An average US car mileage increase of five miles per gallon would reduce oil ...
Web-o-Cycles part of Cutting Edge:Develop Program-Wide Abilities:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
This is a classroom activity intended as an introductory exercise in a capstone experience involving complex Earth systems.
Stream Gages and GIS part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Teaching with GIS:Examples
Utilize the online GIS of the USGS real-time stream gage network to introduce basic concepts of data-driven maps and GIS. This exercise can be used independently or with other hydrology exercises. -
Sleeping Mountain Scenario part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
Original Author: Janice Cooper. Posted with the permission of Glenn Jaecks, (University of California Davis Geology Department) Introduction | Format for Discussion | The Reality of the Threat at Mammoth | Web ...
Teaching Chaos and Complex Evolutionary Systems Theories at the Introductory Level part of Cutting Edge:Develop Program-Wide Abilities:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
This is a learning progression of 12 models leading to 19 learning outcomes designed to introduce chaos and complex systems theories concepts in 3 - 5 50 minute classes. Includes power points of class ...
Copper Extraction Demonstration Tutorial part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lecture Demonstrations:Examples
Summary This demonstration uses sulfuric acid and crushed copper ore (malachite) to produce a solution of copper sulfate and carbonic acid in a beaker. When a freshly sanded nail is dropped into the copper sulfate ...
Determining Earthquake Recurrence Intervals from Trench Logs part of Rates and Time:GSA Activity Posters
Trench logs of the San Andreas Fault at Pallett Creek, CA are the data base for a lab or homework assignment that teaches about relative dating, radiometric dating, fault recurrence intervals and the reasons for uncertainty in predicting geologic phenomena. Students are given a trench log that includes several fault strands and dated stratigraphic horizons. They estimate the times of faulting based on bracketing ages of faulted and unfaulted strata. They compile a table with the faulting events from the trench log and additional events recognized in nearby trenches, then calculate maximum, minimum and average earthquake recurrence intervals for the San Andreas Fault in this area. They conclude by making their own prediction for the timing of the next earthquake.